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SC refuses to entertain petition of Hemant Soren challenging his arrest by ED

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New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday refused to entertain the petition of former Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren against the arrest by Enforcement Directorate (ED) in connection with the alleged land scam.

The Court asked Soren to approach the Jharkhand High Court.

A special bench of Justice Sanjiv Khanna, Justice MM Sundresh, and Justice Bela Trivedi refused to entertain Hemant Soren’s plea under Article 32 of the constitution challenging his arrest but left it open to him to seek a remedy before the Jharkhand High Court under Article 226.

‘High courts are also the constitutional courts, you approach them, If we permit one person, then we have to permit everyone,’ the bench said.

Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal pleaded before the bench that here is a case of a Chief Minister who has been arrested and produced the evidence supporting his claim. This is not fair, he said.

Justice Khanna, however said, Courts are open to everybody and secondly high courts are constitutional courts.

Sibal asserted that the Supreme ought to exercise its discretion in this case.

The Senior Advocate also said Your Lordships have discretion. This is a case where that discretion ought to be exercised. Soren, in his plea before the Supreme Court, had urged to declare his arrest as unwarranted, arbitrary, and in violation of his fundamental rights.

Justice Khanna said, “Initially you filed a petition here on the basis that a notice under Section 50 has been issued. Now an amendment application has been filed since he has been arrested.”

Senior Advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, also appearing for Soren pleaded that the Top Court has concurrent jurisdiction. There was no necessity to arrest which we have challenged here.

Justice Khanna was not convinced by the arguments and told the lawyers to approach the Jharkhand High Court.

Soren was arrested on January 31 by the Enforcement Directorate in connection with a money laundering case linked to an alleged land scam.

He was arrested after ED in 2023 conducted raids against one Bhanu Pratap Prasad, a sub-inspector in the revenue department in the state, who allegedly worked along with the land mafia.

The sub-inspector was allegedly involved in hatching conspiracies to acquire and conceal various properties in an illegal manner including the ones which are illegally acquired and possessed by Hemant Soren.

The ED alleged that the ex-Jharkhand Chief Minister had illegally acquired and allegedly possessed 12 adjacent land parcels in Ranchi measuring 8.5 acres, obtained by a so-called “large syndicate” involved in grabbing properties.

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